A Brunei government agency says it has successfully forced the sultan’s disgraced brother to disclose details of his bank accounts in a bid to end a multi-billion-dollar fraud scandal.
The Brunei Investment Agency launched contempt proceedings at Britain’s High Court last year against its own ex-chief, Prince Jefri Bolkiah, the younger brother of ruler Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.
Jefri, who was finance minister from 1986 to 1998 and is now based mainly in London, went on a massive spending spree with Brunei’s money, channelled through the investment agency into his own Amedeo Development Corporation.
When Amedeo crashed in the 1997/1998 Asian financial crisis, its unpaid bills nearly bankrupted the oil-rich absolute monarchy on Borneo island.
The agency filed legal actions after Jefri allegedly reneged on an out-of-court settlement ordering him to reveal his financial assets.
But the agency said in a written statement it had dropped the contempt proceedings after Jefri “produced a great deal of further information about his bank accounts and as to the financial support he was receiving from others to fund his lifestyle”.
“The contempt proceedings had been successful in their purpose of compelling … Prince Jefri to give disclosure,” it said.
Jefri, who has lived mostly in London after leaving Brunei in 2004, reached an out-of-court settlement with the government in 2000 following a lawsuit filed against him over £9bn (€13.1bn) that vanished from Brunei’s coffers while Jefri headed the agency.
The Brunei Investment Agency said recent British media reports portraying the latest court twist as a victory for Jefri were “inaccurate”.
It denied that Jefri had been awarded all legal costs in the contempt proceedings at the High Court.
“Prince Jefri remains subject to … orders of the Brunei and English courts freezing his assets and ordering him to give disclosure of them,” the agency said.
It said it was waiting for a Brunei High Court verdict in an attempt to force Jefri to hand over all his remaining assets as part of the settlement.